Emanuel father goes to jail
Emanuel father goes to jail Israel news photo: Flash 90

Twenty-two women from Emanuel who were sentenced to jail after refusing to send their daughters to a school that was forcibly integrated by the Supreme Court may be given their freedom. The women are scheduled to have an emergency hearing on Sunday morning.

One of the women gave birth Thursday evening, just hours after she and her husband had been ordered to report to prison. Her husband reported to police on Friday morning after spending the night at his wife's side.

The women's attorney, Mordechai Green, filed a last-minute petition Thursday. He called on the court to jail only the fathers of the families, who have already begun a two-week prison term, and to make an exception for the women due to their special circumstances. Most of the women are pregnant, nursing, or have many children to care for, he explained.

Justice Edmund Levy agreed to hear the mothers' plea.

Parents were sentenced to jail after attempting to send their daughters to a religious school in Bnei Brak rather than to a school in Emanuel in which the Supreme Court had ordered the Slonim hassidic track and a second track to integrate. The court ruled that the Slonim track discriminated against Sephardi pupils.

The Slonim parents say the separate track had different religious standards, but did not discriminate based on ethnicity.They proved that approximately 30% of the students were of Sephardic origins.

Over 100,000 hareidi-religious men accompanied 35 fathers of Emanuel students to prison on Thursday afternoon in what was dubbed “the mother of all protests.” The massive demonstration remained peaceful. 

One father waved a sign reading, "I, a Sephardi father, am going to jail because I want to send my daughter to learn in the hassidic track."

Protesters explained that they had come to fight the Supreme Court's involvement in religious education.